George Barna is a seasoned pollster and director of the Barna Group. His group’s survey results in 2006 reveal some disturbing trends. Listed below are three of the twelve most significant findings this year.
· Only 15% of those who regularly attend a Christian church ranked their relationship with God as the top priority in their life.
What disturbs me about these statistics is that they are a harbinger of disaster for our future if you believe as I do, that what happens with and to our youth is critical for the world’s future. Here are some thoughts to ponder:
1. If 85% of those who regularly attend church do not place God as the top priority in their life, then guess what message young people are observing first-hand—God is not that important.
2. I would contend that the 61% of those in their 20’s who are spiritually disengaged had weak habits to begin with in the area of Bible reading, prayer and regular fellowship. I say this because most churches philosophically tap the youth pastor and the youth group as the key to the spiritual development of their children. The problem with this philosophy is:
1 Timothy 4:12--Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
Most Bible scholars think Timothy was about 17 years old when Paul recruited him to his team. Paul saw in him a heart for God. Notice the high standards Paul expected of him in the verse above. He called on Timothy to set the example in five key areas—speech, behavior, love, faith and purity. What he expected of Timothy, he practiced in his own life.
One of the most tragic occurrences in life is a shrinking heart. The fresh love a person has at a tender age for God should not become twisted, disdained or set aside for some take-your-pick worldly obsession. Like Paul, we must determine to love God. We must model and believe passionately in regular time studying His Word, frequent heavenly communication, customary time for stimulating fellowship that contains worship and interactive dialogue, and investing with our time and resources in our Father’s kingdom. Effective modeling means telling our young people why following Christ matters, showing them how, getting them started in what we are doing to grow, keeping them going and seeing that they pass what they learned on to others!
The road home is a narrow road that climbs and winds to the Son. It’s a glorious road and a road every child of God should be challenged to follow. Our youth are our future. This earth is not our destination and unless we understand that and get serious about training our youth, the road we know will become even less trafficked and the broad highway that leads to destruction will become an even more congested nightmare.
To those of you are young, don’t be discouraged! Keep your eyes on Jesus and ask Him to help you fall deeper in love with Him each day so that you can serve Him for God’s glory! And if you are part of a youth group that is not challenging you spiritually, respectfully share with the leader that you would like to have more meat and less cotton candy!
©2006 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)